Use lane rental cash to improve roads

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The Department for Transport is rolling out a lane rental scheme to cut delays resulting from road works.

The system, which involves utilities being charged up to £2,500 a day for digging up a road, have been trialled in London and Kent.

Transport minister Jo Johnson said: “Lane rental has seen a massive drop in disruption to drivers as utility companies have changed when and where they carry out work. Now we want millions of motorists around England to get the same benefits.”

The Road Haulage Association wants to see the proceeds used to fund road improvement schemes. Chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “The road network is clogged-up and in a poor state of repair, and has suffered as a result of continual under-investment and short-term thinking. We urge authorities to reinvest all surplus Lane Rental revenues in high-quality road improvement schemes to help make the network fit for purpose.”

It also warned that the scheme had significantly increased utility companies’ operating costs in the pilot scheme areas which has seen a worrying development as some companies have delayed planned works.

“DfT reports that some utility companies have waited until infrastructure has needed repairing to avoid incurring the extra costs as emergency works don’t incur charges,” said Burnett.“This isn’t a good sign and certainly flies against the move to encourage contractors to plan and synchronise their work schedules to reduce disruption to road users; so this needs managing very carefully. The last thing we need is more unplanned roadworks.”

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